I’ve just got back from a week in Turkey with Sam. I booked it two days after I got out of hospital hoping that we would look forward to it and that it would do us good. And it did; we were all inclusive and in the middle of nowhere so we pretty much did nothing for a week. However, it soon became clear before we even got to the resort that we were right in the middle of the time people seemed most inclined to take their babies and toddlers on holiday. I wouldn’t say we were the only people without a baby in tow, but I would not be exaggerating to say that we were amongst a minority. This was difficult of course, but it helped that there was a whole pool dedicated to people over 16 called the ‘relax area’ (something I would probably have scoffed at in the past but was very thankful of last week). Every evening from about 7 until sometime after 9, the whole of the main bar area was used by the children’s club, and all the babies and small children ran about and played to all sorts of pretty terrible music. There was no separate ‘relax area’…
At the times that I am able to actually look at a baby, I find myself becoming fixated on the physicality of them; the firm rounded tummy, the way their tiny feet slap flat on the floor, the small body rocking side to side as each step takes over the previous, the tiny hands and the way the fingers curl slowly, in careful inspection of the tiniest things that we take for granted, the wide eyes in joy over something as simple as daddy re-appearing from behind his hands, like magic, the way their hair becomes tousled and fluffy after a sleep, and the unmistakeable lines on a face having just woken up..to name just a few of the things that I find myself fascinated with and longing to experience in a child of my own.
Sam seems to find proximity to babies much less distressing than I do, frequently pointing them out to me with a smile. Most of the time I just smile back. But at one point last week, after enduring yet another evening devoted to the baby and toddler association, I’d had enough and had decided we ought to head back to our room. On the way, Sam pointed out a baby in a pram fast asleep – little feet poking out, small red mouth slightly pouting, looking as sweet as an angel. I curtly told him that I could see, but that I tended to try not to look so much. Which I think he understood.
There were also three quite pregnant women there. It’s a strange situation to be in, in terms of my own physicality (which of course is at the forefront of my mind for part of most days when forced to strap a bikini to my currently monstrous stature in public…). In many ways I’m envious of the women with flat tummies and small breasts and bodies not showing signs of carrying children, and I want so badly for my body to return to that state as soon as possible. On the other hand, I remember the feeling of intense disappointment tugging at my stomach when I realised, that a very tall lady who walked past me one evening, and her long cardigan floated around her, was in fact about 6/7 months pregnant. I felt envious of her too.
Anyway, I’ve come back with a healthy tan, which always makes me feel better, and I know makes me look much less like the pallid, tragic looking woman who has been through what I have (I have photographs of me not long after giving birth to Freddie, holding him, so I have the image of what I looked like quite clearly in my head), which somehow makes me feel better a little bit more. I found myself floundering to begin with, when Sam asked what my plan would be for today (we got back to Nottingham at 7.30 am, had a sleep curled up with the dog, and then Sam went in to work at lunch time, so I’m on my own for the rest of the day) – after a week of having nothing to worry about but which book to read next, or whether to get a snack from the bar or wait until lunch, I was struggling a bit in thinking about how I would fill the day. So of course I got out my trusty pad and pen and wrote a list – here it is for those of you who are interested (probably not many):
- Unpack and put clothes etc away
- Clean fridge
- Make tea (chicken?)
Having ticked 3, and soon 4 things off that list already, I’m feeling a little less like a panicked fish having just been plopped into a new tank (actually I don’t know anything about fish, it was just the first simile that came to mind – do fish panic if you plunge them into a new tank of water? Anyone?) and beginning to swim a little more happily (see what I did there?), at least for today anyway. We have nothing in the fridge except various cheeses, lots of beer and lots of condiments, so the final task on my list may well take up the rest of my brain power for the day.